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University of Utah Statement: Students for Fair Admissions v. Harvard

On June 29, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a ruling on the use of affirmative action in university admissions, in Students for Fair Admissions v. Harvard.

The University of Utah does not use race or ethnicity as a factor in its admissions process. Nevertheless, university leaders affirmed their support for creating a campus community that serves the entire state and where all feel safe and welcome. This means exceptional students from all cultures, viewpoints and experiences call our campus home.

“Higher education is the pathway to lifelong success,” said Taylor Randall, University of Utah president. “Our priority still is to build an environment where our students, current and prospective, see the U as a place where they can pursue their passion and a path to opportunity.”

In the court’s decision, the majority wrote that each student “must be treated based on his or her experiences as an individual.” The university considers the “whole student” as the foundation of its admissions process. Prospective students’ applications are evaluated comprehensively, with a primary emphasis on academic performance in high school and the rigor of the coursework. Extracurricular activities and optional writing responses are also considered when appropriate for the major or specialized program. Read more here.

Late last year, at the time the court heard oral arguments in the case brought against Harvard and the University of North Carolina, university enrollment management leaders prepared a FAQ to better shed light on the University of Utah’s holistic approach to admissions. Learn more here. Read the FAQ on @theU.

In addition, University Analytics and Institutional Reporting assembled an aggregated Common Data Set for first-time student applications for admissions to the University of Utah for Fall 2022 that summarizes criteria used in the application process. Learn more here.

Utah System of Higher Education June 29, 2023, Statement:

While the recent decision by the Supreme Court to strike down affirmative action policies may be causing concern among students and families throughout the nation, it is important to note that this ruling will not impact admissions at public colleges and universities in Utah. Unlike some other institutions across the country, Utah public colleges and universities do not consider an applicant’s race or ethnicity when making admissions decisions. 

Though we are still assessing the broader impacts, if any, the court’s ruling may have on our institutions, the Utah System of Higher Education remains dedicated to creating welcoming and inclusive environments that encourage and celebrate the unique backgrounds of every student.